Ultrathin Conformal "Invisible" Mantle Cloak

Computing & Wireless : Wireless and Communications

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Andrea Alu, Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Jason Soric , Electrical and Computer Engineering

Background/unmet need

The "invisibility cloak" has captured human imaginations for centuries. While a completely invisible mantle cloak that works in the visible-spectrum range is still years away, mantle cloaks capable of channeling radiations in RF and microwave ranges within a certain bandwidth are not only possible, but useful in communication applications.

By suppressing the scattering within certain bandwidths, an object can appear "concealed" as the mantle channels the radiation around the object with much reduced loss. For RF and microwave antennas, such suppression of scattering reduces energy loss and improves form factor and design flexibility. Broad bandwidth suppression, suppressing ratio, cost of the mantle, and ease of manufacturing are some of the active areas of research and development for successful commercial application.

Invention Description

A research group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UT Austin has invented a cloaking technology, highly conformal to the object to be concealed, capable of suppressing scattering over a broad bandwidth. The cloak may be composed of multi-layer patterned films to support dual- or multi-band operation, dual polarization, or for extending bandwidth of a single band. By tailoring the geometry of each layer, the frequency response for either bandwidth enhancement or strong scattering suppression can be tuned.

The researchers have also shown that such a cloak may be used for arbitrary shapes, rather than just canonical. Further, arrays of covered objects of arbitrary geometry can be designed.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Ultrathin and conformal
  • Versatile in all angles
  • Highly resilient to loss
  • Simple and inexpensive to build

Features

  • The cloaks are ultrathin, highly conformal and can be multi-layers of patterned films.
  • The cloaks do not depend on the polarization or shape of radiating fields, which may be used in the far or very near-field of a given source.
  • The cloaks are highly flexible so they can be used to cloak objects of arbitrary geometries.
  • While the cloak is passive, inherent circuit board configuration also allows for the inclusion of active electronic controls, useful for frequency response of multilayer cloaks in real time control.

Market potential/applications

RF and microwave communications where complex antenna technology requires elimination of interferences and radiation distortions among radiating element; camouflaging and reduction of detectability in military applications, e.g., for radar or sonar applications; non-invasive biomedical measurements where sensitivity can be improved by using mantle cloaks to suppress interferences

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status